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Drei·mill·er

\dri-mill-er\ [G, fr. drei  three + müller  miller]

While I am interested in both sides of my family tree this site focuses on the Dreimiller line. Meanwhile I continue to monitor the efforts of my 2nd cousin Jeff Graf who is researching our common Denn line (my paternal grandmother's line).

I have always believed that the original German spelling of the name was Dreimüller and it was "Americanized" as Dreimiller and, less frequently, Drymiller, Dreimuller and Drymuller upon arrival to the United States. One family in Illinois appears to have both Dreimiller and Drymillers in it. When spelling the original German name when umlauts are not avialable (such as computer systems that only support basic ASCII characters) the "müller" part is spelled "mueller".

I also recently discovered that the name Dreymüller (Americanized as Dreymiller, Dreymuller, and Dreymueller) may be either an alternate (but phonetically identical) spelling or a variation used by a branch of the tree.

The name Dreimüller may come from Dreimühlen which itself may be from Dreimölen/Dreimöllen which goes back to 1218 A.D. My cousin Mark has been doing a lot of translating of German resources and recently summarized what he has found as follows:

I have been exploring the former women's cloister at Niederehe which is located just south and west of Uexheim. I have a feeling that it may hold the key to the mills which gave the name Dreimühlen to the area which in turn our family recieved its name. It was founded in the 12th century by a group called the Praemonstratarian order, similar to the Cistercians.

A widow named Oda Dreimölen apparently donated money to the abbey and entered it herself. The family Dreimühlen apparently owned a fiefdom from the lords of Blankenheim who were one of the most powerful families in the region. They eventually owned the castle Dreimühlen before it was destroyed around 1400.
I recently began to receive emails intended for someone named Dave Reimiller in one of my "dreimiller" email accounts which opened the possibility of a whole new set of possible name variations but after I did some research that name appears to have no connection to Dreimüller.

The Family Story

The story that I was told by my father is that the family name originated between 1400-1500 in a little hamlet outside of Aachen, Germany. I have tracked my Dreimüller line back to my GGGgrandfather Anton Dreimüller, born Jan. 20, 1791 in Nohn, Germany. His father was Joannes, married to Anne Veronica Schmitz, but I don't know for sure yet if he also lived in Nohn.

My great-grandfather's name was Casper Dreimiller. The family story continues that he emigrated from Germany with his parents Peter Anton and Marie Anne (Bove) Dreimüller and his younger brother Michael, arriving on August 18, 1871. Casper settled down in the Albany, NY area. My grandfather George later moved to Ticonderoga, NY in the 1920's and my father moved to Gales Ferry, CT in 1961.

The following explains the current state of my research into the Dreimiller name.

Status Reports

December 25, 2007

Since my last update Cousin Mark has been doing a lot of research.

September 4, 2002

Since my last update in Feb. 2001 I have been in contact with Thomas Dreimiller in Utica, NY (brother of Dan) and with Delbert and James Drymiller of Arizona (formerly of Illinois). Delbert directed me to his cousin, Michael Paesler, who did some research on his branch of the Dreimueller family tree while in Germany in 1976.

February 26, 2001

Well, my research efforts just about stopped over the last couple of years, primarily due to the birth of my two sons and the deaths of both my parents. However, my interest has been rekindled recently so thing should pick up again over the course of this year.

I was alerted on Feb. 22nd that a John Drymiller from New Haven, CT had been on the TV show "Jeopardy" the night before. Even though my last name has been misspelled that way countless times, it never occurred to me to check to see if there was anyone out there using that spelling. There appear to be more than just a couple.

May, 2000

I been in contact with Patrick Dreimüller in Germany via e-mail. We haven't exchanged much info, but he did mention that there is a castle in Ahütte (next to Üxheim) which is called Burg Dreimühlen anno 1218. He has promised to send me a translation of some documents he has about the castle when he has the time.

Summer 1998

In the summer of 1998 my parents took a drive up to Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT for me where I had located a set of the 60 volume "Germans to America" set of books covering German immigration to the US in the mid-to-late 1800's. They were able to find references to 16 Dreimüllers who came to the US on 5 different ships. One group appears to be my ancestors. I believe the other group is related to the first group somehow. The other 3 who came over individually are a mystery, although I suspect they may be the ancestors of some of the branches that I have identified.

Summer 1997

In the summer of 1997 I had decided that I would try to figure out how all of the Dreimillers in the US were related to each other, grouping them into "branches" to help narrow down the task. First, I compiled a list of living Dreimillers from the various electronic telephone directories and, after removing those that I knew I was related to, I had myself an "unknown living Dreimillers" list. I sorted this list by area code so that those related to each other would most likely be listed near each other. Next, I created another list from the Social Security Death Index, excluding known relatives. Finally I organized the information I had from the 1900 and 1920 Federal Census records for New York.

I selected one Dreimiller from each of the geographic clusters of Dreimillers in NY, as well as to each of the Dreimillers outside of NY (there were only 3) using my phone list, and I asked them to identify the Dreimillers on my lists that they were related to. I also asked that if they didn't have the time or interest to respond to pass my lists onto someone else in their family that would respond. Of the 7 letters I sent out I got responses from 5. One non-respondent was related to one of the other respondents, and the other had passed my letter on to a relative who never replied.

As a result, I was able to identify every Dreimiller on my phone directory list, all but two of the names on the Social Security listing, and some of the names from the Federal Census. All of these Dreimillers can be grouped into seven branches. Those seven branches are:

Michigan Branch

I corresponded with Barbara Dreimiller in Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga County, Ohio contact starting in August, 1996 when her son David first stumbled upon my web site. Sadly, Barbara passed away at the end of 2001 but I've kept in contact with David. Barbara had been working on her husband Bill's branch of the family tree since at least the early 60's when she found my great-uncle Casper listed in a New York City phone book and gave him a call. My correspondence with Barbara led to her discovery that her husband is the 1st cousin of Beulah Dreimiller's late husband Alfred (Huntington Beach, Orange County, California). Their common ancestor Edwin (Barbara's father-in-law) was from Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Michigan. Therefore, I have combined the Ohio and California Branches and renamed them the Michigan Branch. Barbara (OH) and Beulah's daughter Carol (CA) are my points of contact for this branch.

Illinois Branch

This branch currently consists of just one person, John Dreimiller of Mendota, LaSalle County, Illinois (born 3 Mar 1898, died Jan 1975) who was found on the Social Security listing. Ray Dreimiller of the Rochester Branch reports having a conversation with a store clerk in Naples, FL who asked if he was related to the Dreimillers in Elgin, Kane County, Illinois who owned a supermarket chain there. It appears that the Dreimillers in Elgin were actually Drymillers. Mendota is about an hour's drive from Elgin. Delbert Drymiller (from Elgin but now in Arizona) says John was a cousin of his father's but I'd have to confirm that through a second source since John is in the Social Security database as a Dreimiller not a Drymiller. It's also possible that he is somehow related to the Michigan Branch of Dreimillers. I am trying to find a newspaper obituary for John and I also will try to get a copy of his death certificate.

Rochester, NY Branch

Descendants of Christopher Dreimiller, born in Germany, died in Rochester in 1902. Most of them live in the Rochester area. Raymond Dreimiller in Rochester is my point of contact for this branch.

Utica, NY Branch

Descendants of John Dreimiller who came to the US in 1903 or 1904 with his son Anthony (b. 1902 Germany) making this branch the most recent Dreimiller immigrants. John had a second son, Paul (b. 10 Jan 1909). Some still live in the Utica area, although Anthony lives in Punta Gorda, FL, Paul's widow Catherine lives in Florida as well, and two of Paul's sons have moved outside of New York, Paul E. to Plano, TX and John P. to North Easton, MA. I'd like to find out where in Germany John and Anthony were born. Dan Dreimiller in New Hartford, NY is my point of contact.

Ticonderoga, NY Branch

This is the branch I belong to. Descendants of Casper G. Dreimiller (b. Cologne, Germany, d. 1900 Albany, NY). The family oral history says that he came to the US with two brothers, Matthew and Michael, but I have found no solid evidence yet for Matthew's existance. The 1900 Federal Census shows that Casper arrived in 1872, and information sent by my 2nd cousin Michael revealed that Casper's parents were named Anton and Mary Anna (Von Bove). I assume that because Casper was only 8 years old in 1872 that his parents arrived in the U.S. at the same time Casper did.

Casper eventually settled down in the Albany, NY area after living in Brooklyn first. Casper and Mary had 11 children - my grandfather George, Anthony, Frances, Adrian, Christina, Mary, Casper, Louise, Susan, Theodore, and Joseph. George later moved to Ticonderoga, NY in the 1920's and my father moved to Gales Ferry, CT in 1961. Some of George's descendants still live in Ticonderoga, but most are spread out across NY, my family is in CT, and one cousin is in NC and another is in WA. Descendants of Christina (Sedgewick) and Susan (Bradley) still live in NY as far as I know. Joseph's widow Mina also lives in NY, their son Michael (my 2nd cousin) and his wife live in MD, and their two sons recently moved to CA and CO.

Mechanicville, NY Branch

Descendants of Matthew Dreimiller (b. May 1881 NY, d. 1918 Albany, NY). He had a brother Nicholas and a sister (probably named Marie) who both lived in Cohoes, NY. Matthew worked of John S. Dobler Brewing Company in Albany, NY until his untimely death at age 36 in 1918. My grandfather George also worked at the same brewery, although he left the brewery in the early 1910's to join the Army. Not sure if they knew each other. This branch appears to hold the most promise for a connection to my branch.

The 1900 Federal Census shows a Matthew, Nicholas and Marie living with their grandfather Matthew Ulrich. One of the documents sent by my 2nd cousin Michael is a letter from a cemetery (I believe it is Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery in Bethlehem or Glenmont, NY) in response to an inquiry by an unidentified person about any Dreimillers that were buried there. There are 3 cemetery cards listed. One is in my great-aunt Frances' name and contains my great-great-grandfather Anton and some of his descendants. Another one is in Anton's name and listed on that card are a Matthew Ulrich (died 1905), Helen Ulrich (d. 1895), Theodore Dreimiller (d. 1898) Barbara Dreimiller (d. 1892) and Elizabeth Dreimiller (d. 1890).

This suggests to me that Anton was related to Theodore (why else would Theodore be listed on a cemetery card in Anton's name), that Matthew and Helen Ulrich were Theodore's in-laws (why else would his children be living with Matthew Ulrich after he and his wife had died), and that Theodore's wife was either Barbara or Elizabeth and she was the daughter of Matthew and Helen Ulrich. If this is true then this would link the Mechanicville branch to the Ticonderoga branch. Taking this theorizing one step further, it is possible that Theodore might be a son of the unclaimed Casper (see below) which would lead me to think that Anton and the unclaimed Casper were perhaps brothers. And perhaps this Matthew Dreimiller is the unconfirmed "brother" of my great-grandfather Casper and his brother Michael as told in my family's oral history. This is all speculation, of course, but that's part of the fun of genealogical research.

Most members of this branch live in Mechanicville, NY. Eric Dreimiller in Mechanicville is my point of contact.

Albany, NY Branch

Descendants of Nicholas J. Dreimiller (b. 1882 NY), wife Nelli and son Paul. Most still live in the Albany area. Paul (Nick) Dreimiller in Albany is my point of contact.

Unclaimed Dreimillers

So, the next step would appear to be to find out as much as possible about the unclaimed Casper Dreimiller. I've written to the City of Albany requesting death certificates for Casper and my g-g-grandfather Anton, but they will only have them if they actually died in the City of Albany. A trip to the cemetery just outside of Albany where all those Dreimillers are buried would produce a specific dates of death for many of the unclaimed Dreimillers. A check of Albany papers on microfilm (including any German language papers) for obituaries will help as well.

At some point, when I feel that I have enough information, I'll contact some Dreimüllers in Germany to see if any of them have any information on relatives of theirs who emigrated to the U.S. An online acquaintance in Germany has been kind enough to send me a list of addresses (and phone numbers) of about 60 Dreimüllers in Germany and he has offered to translate into German the letter that I want to write. There are a some obvious candidates on his list to receive my letter - a couple of Dreimüllers live in Üxheim where my great-great grandfather Anton was born, some live in Cologne where my great-grandfather Casper may have been born, and there is a Michael Dreimiller.

Close Encounters

There is something that, for the lack of a better term, I'll refer to as a "Close Encounter Of The Unknown Dreimiller Kind". Ray Dreimiller's encounter with the store clerk in Florida wondering if he was related to the Elgin, Illinois Drymillers who owned the supermarket chain is a perfect example of a Close Encounter.

My personal Close Encounter occurred about 10 years ago when I was playing in a local golf tournament here in CT. You could place a bet on the par 3 15th hole on whether your tee shot would stay on the green. The girl taking the bets took my $5 and asked my name. When I told her she said "Oh, I went to high school in NY with a Michael Dreimiller." She was in her early 20's so she probably graduated high school in the early 80's. I've always wondered who that other Michael Dreimiller is. Based on the information gathered by my recent efforts I now suspect it might be Dan's brother Michael from the Utica Branch. If you've had a Close Encounter please let me know about it.

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